California closer to approving methyl iodide
June 16, 2010
• Would replace methyl bromide
• Critics cite public health threat
Officials of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation are being asked to appear before a state Senate committee Thursday to explain why approval for agricultural use of the chemical methyl iodide appears certain.
The pesticide would replace methyl bromide, which is suspected of harming the ozone layer.
But critics of the replacement say it will harm farm workers and those who live near the strawberry fields where it would be used.
“Our governor seems to be in a hurry to bestow one last gift on some of his biggest supporters in agriculture, but this move will certainly not be in the best interest of California farm workers or the growing number of Californians who live in close proximity to farmland,” says Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, will hold a hearing of the Senate Food and Agriculture Committee on Thursday, evaluating a report by scientists that indicates what Mr. Florez calls a serious public health threat posed by methyl iodide
Mr. Florez says the findings are being overlooked by the Department of Pesticide Regulation in what he calls a “rush decision.”
A scientific panel commissioned by DPR to assess the risks of methyl iodide wrote that methyl iodide may cause a “significant adverse impact on the public health” and that adequate control of human exposure would be “difficult, if not impossible” to achieve.
The chemical has been used in the laboratory to generate cancer cells and causes both neurological and fetal damage.
Use of methyl iodide is expected to be allowed in California once a public comment period on pending approval ends on June 29.
Mr. Florez says approval should not be pushed through by Mr. Schwarzenegger, who is in the final months of his tenure as governor, but should be considered by the incoming Administration, which will ultimately be responsible for the outcomes.
Thursday’s hearing will be held at 2 p.m. in Room 3191 of the California State Capitol.